B1613 – Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age (Certain Offices) Bill 2020

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Andrew97
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B1613 – Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age (Certain Offices) Bill 2020, TSR Government

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Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age (Certain Offices) Bill 2020Bill 2020

A Bill to raise the mandatory retirement age to 75 for Court of Appeal judges and Supreme Court Justices.


BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

1: Amendments to the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993
(1) After section 26(1), insert:
“(1A) Subject to the following provisions of this section, a person holding any of the offices for the time being specified in Schedule 5A to this Act (a “relevant senior office”) shall vacate that office on the day on which he attains the age of 75 or such lower age as may for the time being be specified for the purpose in the enactments and instruments relating to that office, whenever passed or made.”

(2) After Schedule 5, insert:


“SCHEDULE 5A
Retirement provisions: the relevant senior offices


Judge of the Supreme Court
Judge of the Court of Appeal
Lord President of the Court of Session
Lord Justice Clerk
Judge of the Court of Session
Temporary Judge of the Court of Session
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
Lord Justice of Appeal in Northern Ireland”

(3) In Schedule 5, amend:
(X)(X)(1) “Judge of the Senior Courts of England and Wales”
(X)(X)(X) To
(X)(X)(X) “Judge of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, except those listed in Schedule 5A”

(4) In Schedule 5, remove:
(X)(X)(1) “Judge of the Supreme Court”
(X)(X)(2) “Lord President of the Court of Session”
(X)(X)(3) "Lord Justice Clerk"
(X)(X)(4) "Judge of the Court of Session"
(X)(X)(5) "Temporary Judge of the Court of Session"
(X)(X)(6) "Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland"
(X)(X)(7) "Lord Justice of Appeal in Northern Ireland"

2: Commencement, Short Title, Extent and Conditions
(1) This bill shall come into force upon Royal Assent.
(2) This bill may be cited as the Judicial Mandatory Retirement Age (Certain Offices) Act 2020.
(3) This bill extends to the United Kingdom.

Notes

This bill seeks to extend the mandatory retirement age for certain senior members of the judiciary, namely those sitting in the Supreme Court (in the United Kingdom), the Court of Appeal (for England and Wales, and Northern Ireland), and those sitting in the supreme courts of Scotland.

Currently the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 sets the mandatory retirement age (MRA) at 70 for all judges, with a mechanism for special dispensation to be sought to remain in post until the age of 75. This bill leaves the MRA the same for judges in the courts lower than the ones listed above but raises it to 75 for those that are listed, following the recommendations of the House of Lords Constitution Committee from 2012.

It should be noted that judges are entirely permitted to retire before their mandatory retirement age; the MRA merely serves to set a maximum age limit on office-holders.

There are a number of reasons for such a raise in the MRA:
  • Greater retention, ensuring that the most experienced justices can remain in post and continue working.
  • Reduced recruitment costs – two of the three Supreme Court Presidents to date have served for less than three years each, and eight justices in total having retired in the last three years1, there are a lot of recruitment efforts put into this court alone.
  • Since 1993 the life expectancy of men has increased by 5.8 years for men and 4.1 years for women2, meaning increasing the MRA may reflect improvements in health and capability linked to improved life expectancy3.
  • The possibility that the ability to have longer career may make higher judicial appointment more attractive to applicants and potentially more accessible to those who have had career breaks earlier on to have children, for health/family reasons, etc. as they have more time to reach the seniority required for appointment.

References:
1https://www.supremecourt.uk/about/former-justices.html
2 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulat...les/1981to2068
3 https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digit...nsultation.pdf (page 24)
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El Salvador
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I'm of course supportive of this.
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Gundabad(good)
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I support this. There are 80 year olds managing multi-billion dollar empires for God's sake!
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Miss Maddie
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Why was there ever a limit?
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JMR2020.
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Mr Speaker,

I support this bill, and I would in fact remove the mandatory retirement requirement altogether so long as the judge is mentally fit.
However that being said I would also support measures to make sure that there are also younger and more representative judges being represented in the justice system.
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Jammy Duel
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Given the justification for the increase why not get rid of the age discrimination entirely?
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Tinders
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An increase to 75 would help ease the recruitment crisis in the High Court whilst maintaining a steady rotation of justices on the court. Aye!
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Why was there ever a limit?
(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Given the justification for the increase why not get rid of the age discrimination entirely?
That's entirely possible, and I wasn't sure whether that would be the best step to take or not. Presently, the arguments for maintaining that mandatory retirement age are:

1. To ensure progression possibilities for younger judges
2. To maintain an element of the independence of the judiciary - at present the Lord Chancellor may remove judges on the grounds of misbehaviour or inability to perform the duties of the office, but to remove the MRA would possibly require a more robust capability to remove a judge of poor health
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by JMR2020.)
Mr Speaker,

I support this bill, and I would in fact remove the mandatory retirement requirement altogether so long as the judge is mentally fit.
However that being said I would also support measures to make sure that there are also younger and more representative judges being represented in the justice system.
I'd rather have a system where appointments are decided based on merit as opposed to age or being ”representative”.

As for the Bill, Aye.
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Mr T 999
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Makes sense. Aye
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04MR17
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I'm delighted to support this bill and I hope the rest of the house will join me with a very affirmative Aye in division.
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Bailey14
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Mr Speaker, as Shadow Secretary of State for the relevant department, I fully support this bill.
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Joleee
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what’s the reason for the current law?
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Tinders
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(Original post by Joleee)
what’s the reason for the current law?
Robert Buckland who is IRL Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice said it's for balancing the requirement for sufficient judicial expertise to meet the demands of the courts and tribunals, improving diversity and protecting the judiciary’s independence. See here
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Napp
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Naturally one is fully behind this. The preservation of talent is a key pillar of our justice system.
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Joleee
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(Original post by Tinders)
Robert Buckland who is IRL Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice said it's for balancing the requirement for sufficient judicial expertise to meet the demands of the courts and tribunals, improving diversity and protecting the judiciary’s independence. See here
thank you for your reply

i’m now even more confused because i’ve read your source three times over and the only reason in the author’s opinion to raise the age to 75 was to ‘retain’ current judges and magistrates. but why is that a benefit beyond their pension plan?
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Tinders
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(Original post by Joleee)
thank you for your reply

i’m now even more confused because i’ve read your source three times over and the only reason in the author’s opinion to raise the age to 75 was to ‘retain’ current judges and magistrates. but why is that a benefit beyond their pension plan?
Sorry I misread your comment, I thought you said new law so sorry I'm not sure the reasoning for the current law. Sorry.
Last edited by Tinders; 2 weeks ago
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Tinders)
X
I'd note that this bill does not pertain to magistrates or High Court judges, but solely those sitting in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (and their equivalents in the other nations - I'm looking at you Scotland!).
(Original post by Joleee)
what’s the reason for the current law?
I'm not sure precisely why it was brought in in the first place, but modern arguments for keeping the lower age are as follows:
  • To prevent judges being 'out of touch' (which I'd say is a very valid argument for the lower courts which require an understanding of the positions of the people involved, but by the time the case reaches the senior courts the law becomes much more academic and demanding of experience)
  • Allowing younger judges to climb to the top without being blocked as much (a fair point, but I look to the crisis in recruitment we are facing in the senior judiciary and consider that this does not seem that much of a concern)
  • Preserving judges’ dignity by avoiding capability assessments for older judges (a valid concern too, but one which setting the MRA at 75 would not need to give rise to given that as a society we now have longer life expediencies and better health in our 70s)
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Rakas21
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Mr Speaker, this bill has my full support.
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AditOTAKU666
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I agree. Experience is the most important factor for a judge presiding over a higher court of law.
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